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2nd Intermission

Summer Travel

12 best fishing spots in New England

We lured angling insiders into revealing a dozen destinations in the region. Well, at least those they’ll share.

Trout photograph by iStockphoto; Plymouth Harbor Jetty photograph by Bob O’Connor; Mackerel photograph by IStockphoto

Bob O'Connor

Plymouth Harbor.

BEST BEGINNERS’ STRIPER SURF-CASTING IN MAINE 

Half Mile Beach

Try surf-casting on Half Mile Beach abutting the Little River in coastal Maine’s Reid State Park near Bath. Warmer water flowing from the river attracts smaller schools of striped bass in June and July and larger brethren from late August into fall. Some say the fishing’s better in fog. “It could be the fish see the bait in a different way,” says park manager Samantha Wilkinson, “but there is a certain Zen to it.” 

> 207-371-2303, parksandlands.com

BEST BASS FROM THE SHORE IN MASSACHUSETTS

Wachusett Reservoir

Ten minutes from Worcester, Wachusett Reservoir draws anglers for all sorts of fish, but late May and June is prime largemouth and smallmouth bass time along the well-protected shore of the deep, 8-mile-long body of water. “This is a great natural area not far from civilization,” says Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation regional director John Scannell. Though there’s no boating or wading in the reservoir (which supplies drinking water to the Boston area), there’s plenty of walk-to shore fishing. When the surface water warms up, the bass become more accessible and active in the shallow flats, says MassWildlife biologist Todd Richards. There are plenty of panfish in summer, too. 

> 978-365-3800, mass.gov/dcr (DCR); 508-389-6300, mass.gov/dfwele/DFW (MassWildlife)

istockphoto

Rainbow trout.

BEST TROPHY TROUT IN VERMONT

Otter Creek

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The state’s trophy trout program stocks 1,000 2-year-old rainbow and brown trout twice yearly at the headwaters of north-flowing Otter Creek — Vermont’s longest and largest river system — accessible from a pair of Route 7 parking areas on the Danby-Mount Tabor line. It’s “cold quality trout habitat,” says Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department biologist Shawn Good. Bring waders. 

> 802-241-3700, vtfishandwildlife.com

BEST SUMMER FLOUNDER IN CONNECTICUT

Fort Trumbull State Park

At Fort Trumbull State Park in New London, seek out summer flounder in the shadows of an 1852 fort from a lighted 500-foot-long pier at the mouth of the Thames River and Long Island Sound. This is an Enhanced Opportunity Shore Fishing access site, meaning you can keep fish as little as 16 inches, instead of the typical 17½. Flounder run from mid-May to November. “You can catch them all summer long,” says David Molnar, a marine fisheries biologist with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

> 860-434-6043, www.ct.gov/deep/fishing

BEST NORTHERN PIKE IN RHODE ISLAND

Worden’s Pond

The Narragansett Indians once lived on the shores of 1,000-acre Worden’s Pond in South Kingstown, where anglers head to catch northern pike. “The pond is fairly shallow,” says Christine Dudley, freshwater fisheries deputy chief for Rhode Island Fish and Wildlife. “We buy fingerlings from the Midwest, and stock ponds around the state every few years.” You can fish from the docks off Worden’s Pond Road or launch a boat. You’ll find other fish there, too. 

> 401-789-0281, dem.ri.gov

BEST BLUEFISH IN MASSACHUSETTS

Plymouth Harbor jetty

Blues and striped bass are the much sought-after prizes at popular and picturesque Plymouth Harbor jetty, busy with anglers, strollers, and others. Sagamore Village’s Canal Bait & Tackle owner Bruce Miller says bluefish start showing up around the middle of June and can stay until the first of October. “They’re easier to catch than bass,” he says. “Bluefish are more aggressive. Bass and bluefish are what a lot of people do.” 

> 508-833-2996, canalbaitandtackle.com

Black Crappie.

BEST PERCH FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY IN NEW HAMPSHIRE

Massabesic Lake

Southern New Hampshire’s largest lake is not only Manchester’s water supply but a prime location to take the family to try for perch and more from shore with bait or a lure. With easy access from Route 101, Massabesic Lake’s Front Park also offers plentiful parking. “You’ve got some submerged vegetation there,” a setting that delights perch, notes New Hampshire Fish and Game Inland Fisheries supervisor Scott Decker. 

> 603-271-3211, fishnh.com

BEST CRAPPIES IN VERMONT 

Lake St. Catherine State Park

Southwest Vermont’s Lake St. Catherine State Park in Poultney has a healthy population of meaty black crappies. “They are one of the most sought-after panfish,” says biologist Shawn Good. Until the end of May, consider taking a boat through the channels to the shallow waters of adjacent Lily and Little ponds, where the crappies spawn. Afterward, the fish enter the lake, and anglers who frequent the Endless Brook sandbar — which extends from the shore — usually can find them.

> 802-241-3700, vtfishandwildlife.com

BEST STRIPERS FROM SHORE FOR SEASONED ANGLERS IN RHODE ISLAND

Sandy Point

When the sand eels, silversides, and squid come around scenic Sandy Point on Block Island’s northern tip in late May, striped bass follow in early June, with sea bass and fluke later that month. Twin Maples Bait and Tackle owner John Swienton says fish line up off the point’s long sandbar waiting for bait when the tide’s running. It’s best when the sun drops below the horizon line in evening and at morning’s first light.

> 401-466-5547, twinmaplesblockisland.com

BEST TROUT FOR KIDS IN CONNECTICUT

Stratton Brook State Park

Connecticut’s 11 state trout parks are designed to hook kids on fishing. The stocked waterways also have amenities attractive to moms and dads — restrooms and picnic tables — like at Stratton Brook State Park in Simsbury outside Hartford. “We really want to make it a very positive experience for kids,” says Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection biologist Neal Hagstrom. 

> 860-424-3474, www.ct.gov/deep/fishing

istockphoto

Mackerel.

BEST MACKEREL FROM A NEW HAMPSHIRE BRIDGE

Goat Island Bridge

With its supports, rocks, sand, mud, and night lights, the Goat Island Bridge on Route 1B between Portsmouth and New Castle where the Piscataqua River meets the sea is a happening place. Though striped bass are prized, baitfish also rule and mackerel stick around, bigger as the season progresses. “They tend to come in June and hang around until winter hits,” says New Hampshire Fish and Game marine biologist Becky Heuss.

> 603-868-1095, fishnh.com

BEST BASS BY BOAT IN MAINE

Cobbossee-contee Lake

Some of the state’s heftiest smallmouth and largemouth bass have been caught in 5,500-acre Cobbosseecontee Lake. Islands, inlets, coves, drop-offs, and rocky shorelines make it bass tournament-friendly. Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife spokesman Doug Rafferty suggests the midsection starting by Horseshoe Island. There’s a boat launch off Route 135 in Monmouth. 

> 207-287-8000, maine.gov/ifw

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